Facebook Gave Mueller More Details on Russia Than Congress

Former Trump aide liquidated children’s college fund to pay for Russia defense report

The social network provided copies of ads and explained how they were targeted and who bought them, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing an ongoing investigation.

Facebook turned over data related to the ads, in addition to a so-called Russian "troll farm" believed to be behind them.

Facebook told Congress last week it found about $100,000 in ad spending from June 2015 to May 2017, which were linked to 3,000 ads.

The Facebook analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russian Federation. Without a warrant, however, Facebook didn't have to actually turn over the ads or relevant records to Congress.

Indeed: probers are intrigued by the role of Jared Kushner, the now-president's son-in-law, who eagerly took credit for crafting the Trump campaign's online efforts in a rare interview right after the 2016 election.

The company has not been called to testify in the Russian Federation probe, the Journal reported.

"I called somebody who works for one of the technology companies that I work with, and I had them give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting", Kushner said.

The fact that Mueller obtained a warrant means he's already made a strong case for Russia's meddling with the election.

"This is big news", said former Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence agent Asha Rangappa, "and potentially bad news for the Russian election interference 'deniers'".

"That means that he has uncovered a great deal of evidence through other avenues of Russian election interference", she said. Instead, the ads focused on spurring divisive social and political views, from topics like LGBT, race, immigration and the Second Amendment.

"We have shared our findings with U.S. authorities investigating these issues, and we will continue to work with them as necessary", Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said in a post last week.

The implications for Trump campaign staffers are not good, given that the targeted ads bought by foreign interests were geographically targeted to very specific regions where polling showed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was vulnerable.

Warner wants a public hearing to force Facebook to account for what happened on its platform during the election, and has been frustrated at the company's disclosures to date.

To obtain a warrant, experts say Mueller would have needed to prove he has a reasonable suspicion a crime was committed.

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